5 & 6 Kidneys; Skeleton System UPSC Notes | EduRev

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UPSC : 5 & 6 Kidneys; Skeleton System UPSC Notes | EduRev

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Kidney: The kidneys perform the essential function of removing waste products from the blood and regulating the water fluid levels. The kidneys receive blood through the renal artery. The blood is passed through the structure of the kidneys called nephrons, where waste products and excess water pass out of the blood stream, as shown in the diagram below.

When the kidneys are not functional, dialysis becomes necessary to save the victim. In dialysis, the blood passes through an external membrane which allows waste products from the blood to pass out of the blood and into the dialysis fluid. Because of the rate of build-up of the waste products, it may be necessary to perform dialysis as many as 3 times per week.



Kidneys are essential in the urinary system and also serve homeostatic functions such as the regulation of electrolytes, maintenance of acid–base balance, and regulation of blood pressure (via maintaining salt and water balance). They serve the body as a natural filter of the blood, and remove wastes which are diverted to the urinary bladder. In producing urine, the kidneys excrete wastes such as urea and ammonium, and they are also responsible for the reabsorption of water, glucose, and amino acids. The kidneys also produce hormones including calcitriol, erythropoietin, and the enzyme renin.

Located at the rear of the abdominal cavity in the retro peritoneum, the kidneys receive blood from the paired renal arteries, and drain into the paired renal veins. Each kidney excretes urine into a ureter, itself a paired structure that empties into the urinary bladder.

Renal physiology is the study of kidney function, while nephrology is the medical specialty concerned with kidney diseases. Diseases of the kidney are diverse, but individuals with kidney disease frequently display characteristic clinical features. Common clinical conditions involving the kidney include the nephritic and nephritic syndromes, renal cysts, acute kidney injury, chronic kidney disease, urinary tract infection, nephrolithiasis, and urinary tract obstruction.[1] Various cancers of the kidney exist; the most common adult renal cancer is renal cell carcinoma. Cancers, cysts, and some other renal conditions can be managed with removal of the kidney, or nephrectomy. When renal function, measured by glomerular filtration rate, is persistently poor, dialysis and kidney transplantation may be treatment options. Although they are not severely harmful, kidney stones can be painful and a nuisance. The removal of kidney stones involves ultrasound treatment to break up the stones into smaller pieces, which are then passed through the urinary tract. One common symptom of kidney stones is a sharp pain in the medial/lateral segments of the lower back.

The kidneys secrete a variety of hormones, including erythropoietin, and the enzyme renin. Erythropoietin is released in response to hypoxia (low levels of oxygen at tissue level) in the renal circulation. It stimulates erythropoiesis (production of red blood cells) in the bone marrow. Calcitriol, the activated form of vitamin D, promotes intestinal absorption of calcium and the renal reabsorption of phosphate. Part of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system, renin is an enzyme involved in the regulation of aldosterone levels.

The kidneys perform a wide range of vital functions in the healthy body, such as: 

        Removing wastes and water from the blood

        Balancing chemicals in your body

        Releasing hormones

        Helping control blood pressure

        Helping to produce red blood cells

        Producing vitamin D, which keeps the bones strong and healthy



Heart: The heart is one of the most important organs in the entire human body. It is really nothing more than a pump, composed of muscle which pumps blood throughout the body, beating approximately 72 times per minute of our lives.

The human circulatory system functions to transport blood and oxygen from the lungs to the various tissues of the body. The heart pumps the blood throughout the body. The lymphatic system is an extension of the human circulatory system that includes cell-mediated and antibody-mediated immune systems. The components of the human circulatory system include the heart, blood, red and white blood cells, platelets, and the lymphatic system.

The human heart is about the size of a clenched fist. It contains four chambers: two atria and two ventricles. Oxygen-poor blood enters the right atrium through a major vein called the vena cava. The blood passes through the tricuspid valve into the right ventricle. Next, the blood is pumped through the pulmonary artery to the lungs for gas exchange. Oxygen-rich blood returns to the left atrium via the pulmonary vein. The oxygen-rich blood flows through the bicuspid (mitral) valve into the left ventricle, from which it is pumped through a major artery, the aorta. Two valves called semilunar valves are found in the pulmonary artery and aorta.

The ventricles contract about 70 times per minute, which represents a person's pulse rate. Blood pressure, in contrast, is the pressure exerted against the walls of the arteries. Blood pressure is measured by noting the height to which a column of mercury can be pushed by the blood pressing against the arterial walls. A normal blood pressure is a height of 120 millimetres of mercury during heart contraction ( SYSTOLE), and a height of 80 millimetres of mercury during heart relaxation ( DI STOLE) Normal blood pressure is usually expressed as “120 over 80 ”

Coronary arteries supply the heart muscle with blood. The heart is controlled by nerves that originate on the right side in the upper region of the atrium at the senatorial node. This node is called the PACEMAKER. It generates nerve impulses that spread to the atrioventricular node where the impulses are amplified and spread to other regions of the heart by nerves called Purkinje fibres.




The appendicular skeleton (126 bones) is formed by the pectoral girdles (4), the upper limbs (60), the pelvic girdle (2), and the lower limbs (60). Their functions are to make locomotion possible and to protect the major organs of locomotion, digestion, excretion, and reproduction.




The skeleton provides the framework which supports the body and maintains its shape. The pelvis, associated ligaments and muscles provide a floor for the pelvic structures. Without the rib cages, costal cartilages, and intercostal muscles, the heart would collapse.



The joints between bones permit movement, some allowing a wider range of movement than others, e.g. the ball and socket joint allows a greater range of movement than the pivot joint at the neck. Movement is powered by skeletal muscles, which are attached to the skeleton at various sites on bones. Muscles, bones, and joints provide the principal mechanics for movement, all coordinated by the nervous system.



The skeleton protects many vital organs:

The skull protects the brain, the eyes, and the middle and inner ears.

The vertebrae protect the spinal cord.

The rib cage, spine, and sternum protect the human lungs, human heart and major blood vessels.

The clavicle and scapula protect the shoulder.

The ilium and spine protect the digestive and urogenital systems and the hip.

The patella and the ulna protect the knee and the elbow respectively.

The carpals and tarsals protect the wrist and ankle respectively.

Blood cell production

The skeleton is the site of haematopoiesis, the development of blood cells that takes place in the bone marrow.



Bone matrix can store calcium and is involved in calcium metabolism, and bone marrow can store iron in ferritin and is involved in iron metabolism. However, bones are not entirely made of calcium, but a mixture of chondroitin sulphate and hydroxyapatite, the latter making up 70% of a bone.



Bone cells release a hormone called osteocalcin, which contributes to the regulation of blood sugar (glucose) and fat deposition. Osteocalcin increases both the insulin secretion and sensitivity, in addition to boosting the number of insulin-producing cells and reducing stores of fat.



There are many differences between the male and female human skeletons. Most prominent is the difference in the pelvis, owing to characteristics required for the processes of childbirth. The shape of a female pelvis is flatter, more rounded and proportionally larger to allow the head of a foetus to pass. A male's pelvis is about 90 degrees or less of angle, whereas a female's is 100 degrees or more. Also, the coccyx of a female's pelvis is oriented more inferiorly whereas a male's coccyx is usually oriented more anteriorly. This difference allows more room for childbirth. Males tend to have slightly thicker and longer limbs and digit bones (phalanges), while females tend to have narrower rib cages, smaller teeth, less angular mandibles, less pronounced cranial features such as the brow ridges and external occipital protuberance (the small bump at the back of the skull), and the carrying angle of the forearm is more pronounced in females. Females also tend to have more rounded shoulder blades.



Osteoporosis is a disease of bone, which leads to an increased risk of fracture. In osteoporosis, the bone mineral density (BMD) is reduced, bone microarchitecture is disrupted, and the amount and variety of non-collagenous proteins in bone is altered. Osteoporosis is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) in women as a bone mineral density 2.5 standard deviations below peak bone mass (20-year-old sex-matched healthy person average) as measured by DXA; the term "established osteoporosis" includes the presence of a fragility fracture. Osteoporosis is most common in women after the menopause, when it is called postmenopausal osteoporosis, but may develop in men and premenopausal women in the presence of particular hormonal disorders and other chronic diseases or as a result of smoking and medications, specifically glucocorticoids, when the disease is craned steroid- or glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis (SIOP or GIOP).

Osteoporosis can be prevented with lifestyle advice and medication, and preventing falls in people with known or suspected osteoporosis is an established way to prevent fractures. Osteoporosis can also be prevented with having a good source of calcium and vitamin D. Osteoporosis can be treated with bisphosphonates and various other medical treatments.


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